Sports Features of 2014-06-11

Ayews keeping a family tradition alive

The World Cup, over the years, has had its unique stories of family ties and generational representation.

There have been fathers and sons taking turns to feature in World Cups, there have been fathers and sons as coaches and players at the same World Cup, even instances of brothers playing for opposing countries have been seen.

At Brazil 2014, there will be yet another unique place in history for the Ayew brothers - Andre and Jordan — as they feature in Ghana’s campaign in Group G. Football runs in the Ayew family, with the legend Abedi Ayew Pele and his brothers featuring prominently for clubs and countries back in the 1990s.

Abedi never had the chance to play at the world stage, but his sons, Andre and Jordan, now have the opportunity to do so.

In 2006, the eldest of the Ayew siblings, Rahim, was an unused substitute at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, but his younger brother, Andre was a key player in Ghana’s impressive run to the quarter-final stage.

Four years on, the Ayews’ presence will be felt again in Brazil, as the brothers aim to maintain a family tradition.

When Andre made his World Cup debut in South Africa he wore the No. 13 shirt, but in this month’s tourney in Brazil, he has chosen the revered No. 10 jersey, famously won by his father, Abedi, in his heyday, and ceded the No. 13 shirt to debutant Jordan.

Interestingly, the young men almost missed out on this opportunity as they retired from the national team last year when Andre was named in but Jordan left out of the squad to the 2013 African Cup of Nations by Coach Kwasi Appiah. They will eventually rescind their decision and here they are today, on the threshold of history.

However, while Andre’s form assured him of a place in the Stars’ World Cup build up, Jordan almost didn’t make it, for lack of playing time at Marseille. Determined to make it to Brazil, Jordan requested a loan move from to Sochaux where he made 16 starts in 17 Ligue 1 appearances and impressed Kwasi Appiah to select him for the World Cup.

The brothers are relishing an opportunity not only to make the family proud, but also carve a niche for themselves to complete the unique football story which their legendary father blazed over three decades ago.

“I think it’s a great opportunity to be at the World Cup, and the tough group just makes it more exciting to play in the tournament,” the Marseille player told fifa.com.

“We are not favourites in the group, but when we come out of it, we will make Ghanaians happy. We have the quality and the mentality.”

For 22-year-old Jordan, the chance to share the World Cup experience with his older brother and Marseille teammate is a dream come true.

“It’s a good feeling to be in the Ghana team with my brother because I haven’t played a big tournament like the World Cup before,” the youngest of the Ayew sons said.

“In 2010, I watched him at home. Now, I am here with him in the same team. I look forward to celebrating this unique chance, particularly at Brazil 2014 with him,” Jordan also told FIFA.com.